British Liver Transplant Group

The BLTG (British Liver Transplant Group) was launched in 2014 to represent the professional interests of liver transplantation in the UK and promote strategic and academic development.

The BLTG will foster close relationships with BTS (British Transplant Society) and LICAGE (Liver Intensive Care Group of Europe) and will build on the role of the UK and Ireland Annual Meeting by delivering structure and authority to the group.

BLTG Transplant Meetings

The annual BLTG meeting will integrate the meetings previously organised by each individual transplant centre but will extend to the many individuals working outwith liver transplant centres with an interest in liver transplantation. The meeting will offer a platform for those operating in or with a strong interest in the field of liver transplantation. The BLTG Transplant meeting will be linked to the BASL Annual Meeting and will be aligned to the Liver Transplant Symposium and Williams-Calne Lecture within that programme. The winner of the Andy Burroughs Young Investigator Award will also deliver their prize lecture during the BTLG meeting. The BASL BLTG School of Transplantation offers an excellent platform for trainees with lectures delivered by carefully selected leading speakers from the UK.

The Work of the BLTG

BLTG will provide a voice for UK liver transplantation bringing together all clinicians and allied personnel involved or interested in liver transplantation in the UK. By working closely with allied bodies such as the Liver Advisory Group to NHSBT, the British Transplant Society, BASL, BSG, AUGIS and LICAGE, BLTG will provide the professional view on aspects of planning and delivering liver service for the UK, including liver transplantation. There will also be a strong emphasis on education and training and setting out the future needs of UK Liver services / transplantation.

The BLTG Committee

BLTG Chair Professor Darius Mirza, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Birmingham Children’s Hospital
BLTG Chair Elect - Sept 2017 Professor Derek Manas, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne
BLTG Secretary Dr Doug Thorburn, Royal Free Hospital, London
Conference and Education - until Sept 2017 Dr Dhiraj Tripathi, University Hospitals Birmingham
Conference and Education - Sept 2017 Dr Joanna Leithead, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge
Transplant Hepatology representative Dr Rachel Westbrook, Royal Free Hospital, London
Transplant Surgery representative - until Sept 2017 Mr Dinesh Sharma, Royal Free Hospital, London
Transplant Surgery Representative - Sept 2017 Professor Brian Davidson, Royal Free Hospital, London
Pathology representative Professor Stefan Hubscher, University Hospitals Birmingham
Pharmacy representative Amanda Smith, University Hospitals Birmingham
BSG representative Dr Charles Millson, York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust
Transplant Co-ordinator Sarah Coate, King’s College Hospital, London
Nursing Representative Kate Jones, St James’ University Hospital, Leeds
Immediate Past President Professor John O'Grady, Kings College, London
Paediatric representative Dr Marianne Samyn, Kings College, London
Patient Representative Andrew Langford, British Liver Trust
Patient Representative Alison Taylor
BASL representative Prof Graeme Alexander
BTS Representative Mr Krishna Menon, Kings College, London
Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons (AUGIS) representative Raj Prasad, Leeds Teaching Hospital
Substance misuse specialists (SMSLT) representative Kathryn Rothwell
Interventional Radiology representative Dr Jai Patel, Leeds Teaching Hospital
Anaesthetic Representative Dr James Gill, Kings College, London

Prof Darius Mirza, MS, FRCS, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Birmingham Children’s Hospital
Prof Mirza was appointed Consultant HPB and Transplant Surgeon in 1996, after specialist training in Vienna and Birmingham. His main areas of interest in liver transplantation include the use of extended criteria donors, surgical innovation (liver splitting, segmental grafts), and paediatric transplantation (liver, bowel, multivisceral). In the field of HPB surgery his interest lies in major liver and pancreatic resectional surgery for primary and secondary cancer, bile duct strictures and paediatric resections. He was Clinical Service Lead (CSL) for Liver Surgery at the QE site, overseeing a team of 11 Consultant Surgeons from 2012-2014, working across two sites. In 2013, he was appointed to an Honorary Chair in Hepatobiliary Surgery and Transplantation by the University of Birmingham and is currently the Clinical Academic Lead for Transplantation at the Institute for Translational Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. He has recently (2015) been elected the founding Chair of the British Liver Transplant Group (BLTG). During his 25+ year career in HPB surgery and transplantation, he has contributed to several learned society committees and NHSBT offices including: Liver Advisory Group representative for Birmingham, the founding chair of the Liver Intestine Subgroup, and the founding Chair of the Bowel Advisory Group (BAG) to NHSBT (2010). He is also the Lead Cancer Clinician for HPB surgery. He was also elected for a term as Secretary of the European Liver and Intestinal Transplant Association (ELITA/ESOT) and co-organised the 13th Intestinal Transplant Association symposium in Oxford (2013).

Dr Douglas Thorburn, Royal Free Hospital, London
Dr Thorburn has been a consultant transplant hepatologist since 2003 initially in the liver unit in Birmingham and subsequently at the Royal Free since 2007. His clinical and academic interests are in biliary endoscopy, autoimmune and cholestatic liver diseases and liver transplantation.
As clinical director for the liver transplant, hepatobiliary and pancreatic service and hepatology services at the Royal Free Foundation Trust, he has a particular interest in improving clinical outcomes for patients with liver disease, developing networked specialist clinical services and improving patient and staff experience.
He has been secretary for BLTG since September 2015 and is keen to harness the strengths of the old UK and Ireland Liver Transplant meeting while broadening the constituency of the group to all professionals involved in liver transplantation within the UK.

Dr Dhiraj Tripathi, University Hospitals, Birmingham
Dr Tripathi is a consultant hepatologist and liver transplant physician, with duties covering both general and transplant hepatology. He trained in the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, Edinburgh and took up his current post in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham in 2008. He has particular interest in clinical aspects of portal hypertension, and was awarded a doctorate based on his clinical research in Edinburgh. He runs a specialist clinic for patients with complications of portal hypertension and vascular disorders such as Budd Chiari Syndrome. He has been instrumental in setting up a transplant satellite clinic and outpatient transplant assessment programme in the Royal Liverpool Hospital. He is involved in clinical trials at principal investigator level, and has published widely including the 2015 BSG UK Guidelines on variceal haemorrhage. His other committee work includes past member of BSG Liver Section and current committee member of NICE Interventional Procedures Advisory Committee (IPAC).

Mr Dinesh Sharma, MB BS, MS, FRCSEd, FRCS (Gen Surgery), Royal Free Hospital, London
Mr Sharma is a Consultant HPB and Liver Transplant surgeon at the Royal free NHS Foundation Trust. He has a special interests in treatment of primary hepatocellular cancers. He has had a sustained interest in surgical techniques and outcomes.

Professor Stefan G. Hübscher, University Hospitals Birmingham
Professor Hübscher is Leith Professor and Professor of Hepatic Pathology at the University of Birmingham and Consultant Histopathologist at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham UK. Clinical interests are mainly focused on liver pathology, including hepatic neoplasia and liver transplant pathology. Pathology of biliary and pancreatic disease is his other major area of clinical activity.
The main focus of his research activity has been in the field of liver pathology. Areas of interest include: histological studies of liver allograft rejection, disease recurrence and other late complications following liver transplantation, immune mechanisms in liver disease, pathogenetic mechanisms in vanishing bile duct diseases, immune responses in primary and metastatic hepatic neoplasms and pathogenesis of hepatitis C virus infection. Published works include 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 50 invited review articles and 24 book chapters.
Editorial activities include membership of 5 Editorial Boards – Liver Transplantation, World Journal of Gastroenterology, Pathology Research International, World Journal of Hepatology and World Journal of Transplantation. He has been a member and co-chairman of five International Working Parties producing consensus documents for the diagnosis, grading and staging of liver allograft rejection (the Banff schema) and recommendations for the assessment of late post-transplant liver biopsies. 

Amanda Smith, University Hospitals Birmingham
Amanda Smith graduated from Nottingham University, and subsequently trained in Leeds and Derby gaining a postgraduate diploma in clinical pharmacy, before joining Aston University as a teacher practitioner. She has been the lead liver pharmacist at University Hospitals Birmingham since 2002, and is an active member of the UK & Eire Liver Transplant Pharmacists’ Group. Her clinical interests include patient medication adherence, patient information, drug interactions in transplantation, and normothermic machine perfusion.

Sarah Coate, King’s College Hospital, London
Sarah Coate studied for her first degree at Leeds University in Psychology before training as a nurse. Once she gained her nursing qualification she worked on cardio-thoracic intensive care at St George's for 18 months before transferring to Liver Intensive Care at Kings College Hospital in 2005. She was a junior sister in charge charge of the Liver ITU, a Practice Development Educator and joined the Transplant Coordinator team in 2008. She has experience of looking after both pre and post-transplant patients and has coordinated the Outpatient Pre-assessment clinic for 3 years, working closely with the MDT. She then took on the Lead Coordinator role for Transition Care and Health Promotion clinic.   

Her specific interests are; non adherence post-transplant, pregnancy post-transplant, transition from paediatric to adult services, management of obesity, diabetic control, and hypertension post transplant and nurse led transplant asessment clinics.
She regularly participates in the On Call Service for Liver Transplant at King's and is involved in receiving liver offers, selection of recipients, preparation of recipients for theatre, and the coordination of surgical teams.  

Kate Jones, St James’ University Hospital, Leeds
Kate Jones qualified in Australia and worked in Sydney within the transplant unit before moving to the UK in 2002. She has worked within liver services for a number of years and for the last 9 years has worked as a liver transplant co-ordinator in London and Leeds. Her role as liver transplant co-ordinator is varied and she is involved in pre assessment, waiting list management and post transplant care.

Prof John O'Grady, MD FRCPI, Kings College, London
Professor O’Grady graduated from the National University of Ireland (Galway) in 1978. After undertaking his general medical training in Ireland, he joined the Liver Unit at King’s College Hospital, London, in 1984. His dual interests initially were acute liver failure and liver transplantation. He was appointed Consultant Hepatologist at St. James’ Hospital in Leeds in 1992 but in 1996 returned to King’s College Hospital where he currently works as Professor of Hepatology. He has a long-standing interest in outcomes after liver transplantation. This is reflected in involvement in clinical trials directed at defining optimal immunosuppresssion (notably the TMC trial). The impact of recurrent disease on long-term outcome has also been of considerable interest to him. He was President of the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) from 2007-2009. Currently he is Chairman of UK Transplant Liver Advisory Group. He is also Deputy Editor of the American Journal of Transplantation. He co-edited the textbook Comprehensive Clinical Hepatology (2 editions) and has numerous publications relating to clinical aspects of liver transplantation and acute liver failure.

Dr Marianne Samyn, Kings College, London
Dr Samyn has been a consultant paediatric hepatologists at King’s College Hospital since 2004 and a clinical lead for the multidisciplinary liver transition service since the set up in 2009. With an  interest in adolescent medicine, longterm outcome of paediatric liver diseases and paediatric liver transplantation and autoimmune liver disease.

Prof Graeme Alexander, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge & Royal Free Hospital, London
Prof Alexander is currently Honorary Consultant (part time) at Cambridge University Hospitals and Professorial Research Associate (also part time) in the UCL Division of Medicine, based at the RFH with Prof Massimo Pinzani. In 1991 he was invited to Cambridge as the University Lecturer in Hepatology and Consultant to work alongside Prof Roy Calne with a view to establishing a new Hepatology unit to support their surgical endeavours. The unit has grown substantially and proved successful over 24 years. Graeme was the clinical lead for 17 years as well as programme director for gastroenterology training for 6 years. He maintained a strong interest in clinical and laboratory based research throughout that time, with a large throughput of MD/PhD students as well as Gastroenterology trainees. He has published over 300 peer reviewed original papers and is an expert in the science of liver senescence.

Mr Krishna Menon, Kings College, London
Mr Menon is a Consultant Liver Transplant and Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgeon who has recently been appointed to the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in January 2013. Previously, he was Consultant Surgeon from January 2002 to December 2012 at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust with a specialist interest in Transplantation and Hepato-pancreatobiliary surgery. Over the years as a Consultant at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and currently, he has helped develop techniques in transplantation and HPB surgery. Currently, at King’s College Hospital he is a part of a Consultant Team that is arguably one the leading liver transplant centers in the United Kingdom and worldwide. He is also the National Councillor for Liver Transplant on the British Transplant Society.  

Raj Prasad, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
Mr Prasad is a Consultant Surgeon and Clinical Director of Surgery at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. After training in India, Newcastle, Leeds and Birmingham, he was appointed as a Consultant in 2000. His main clinical interests are in the surgical management of liver diseases in children and adults. His research interests include liver regeneration, biomarkers for biliary cancer and tumour angiogenesis.

Ms Kathryn Rothwell, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
Kathryn Rothwell is a mental health nurse, with 20 years’ experience in the field of substance misuse. She has previously worked as a specialist drug and alcohol nurse in Warwickshire, and at the Leeds Addiction Unit. She currently works with the Liver Transplant Team in Leeds, where she is involved in assessing people who need liver transplants as a result of their substance use, and supporting them both pre and post-transplant. She is currently undertaking an MSc in Advanced Practice at the University of Leeds. She has a particular interest in developing pathways to identify and treat alcohol related brain injury in patients with liver disease.

Dr Jai Patel, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT)

Dr Patel was appointed as consultant in vascular and interventional radiology at LTHT in 1999. Together with other colleagues in the department he provides a comprehensive specialist vascular radiology service in a wide range of minimally invasive interventions. His main area of interest and expertise is in liver intervention, specifically in trans-arterial therapies for the treatment of liver tumours and interventional radiological management of portal hypertension (cirrhotic, non-cirrhotic and Budd-Chiari syndrome). His practice includes intervention in both adult and paediatric liver patients. He was previously Lead Clinician for vascular radiology at LTHT for 5 years and remains the lead interventionalist for the liver service in Leeds. Previous committee work has included Education Committee Chairman and Secretary of the British Society of Interventional Radiology. He also has an interest in the use of new medical devices and technologies in patient management, and is currently a committee member of the NICE Medical Technologies Advisory Committee.

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